Emily Chebet, photo by PhotoRun.net
Joyce Chepkirui, photo by PhotoRun.net
Joyce Chepkirui and Emily Chebet surprised many with their Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals. Less than two weeks later, Joyce and Emily duplicated those positions today at the African Athletics Championships, much to the delight of our columnist, Justin Lagat!
Chepkirui and Chebet, who run for adidas, are well known for their strong road and cross country racing. Their track racing this year shows that their strength is their strength, and over 10,000 meters, both woman are forces with which to be reckoned.
Joyce Chepkirui, the newly crowned Commonwealth 10,000m women champion staged another great run in Marrakech to also become the new African champion in the event after winning the race in 32:45.27. Her compatriot, Emily chebet, who had won a bronze medal in Glasgow, followed in 32:45.28 to also secure a silver medal for Kenya as Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Oljira in 32:49.39 settled for the bronze.
While it was definitely another great evening for Kenyans, the fact that Kenya had won all the podium medals in this event at the last championships in Benin only means that the event did not deliver the same success it did there and that this will only reflect negatively when the total medals are tallied at the end of the championships.
In other finals of the day, South African athletes continued to open up a lead in the number of gold medals they are harvesting at the championships. Sunnette Viljoen won the finals of the women javelin by throwing 65.32m, Khotso Mokoena won the triple jump finals by jumping 17.03m while Cheyne Rahme won the finals of the men pole vault event with 5.41m.
Other gold medalists of the day included Mostafa Hicham of Egypt who threw 79.09m to win the men’s hammer throw, Tyron Akins of Nigeria who won the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.57 and Martha Koala of Mauritius who won in the women heptathlon event.
The highlights of the final day of the championships will include the women’s 3000m steeplechase, men’s 1500m, men’s 5000m, women’s 800m and men’s javelin throw. These are the events that Kenyans are doing very well on the global stage and a possibility of a greater medal haul on this day will be possible.
Asbel Kiprop will lead Ronald Kwemoi and James Magut in their mission to win the medals for the country in the men’s 1500m finals. Three women are also through to the finals in the women 800m; Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei and Agatha Jeruto.
Both Kenyan 5000m men and women 3000m steeplechase runners had done well at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and are obviously going to replicate the same here in Marrakech. The same case will also even be more likely with the defending champion of the javelin event, Julius Yego, who is also fresh from winning the Commonwealth Games title.
With three gold medals, Kenya at this day is placed third behind South Africa and Nigeria at the medal table standings. There is only one day to go before the close of the championships and to maintain, or better their position, Kenyan athletes will need to give their best in the remaining events.